FAQs on the
Related Articles: Killifishes:
Part 1 by Dr. Robert J.
Goldstein, Killifishes, Part
II- The Nothobranchius Family by Robert J.
Goldstein, Ph.D, Cyprinodontid
Fishes, Aplocheilids, Rivuline
European Killifish for Ambitious Aquarists by Matt Ford,
Related FAQs: Pupfishes, Aplocheilid Fishes,
Can you identify this tiny fish?
I am trying to figure out what this tiny fish is that is in my reef tank. I did
not buy it. I found it one day when it was so tiny it looked like one of my
Saltwater Molly babies. You know, a tiny head with a tiny tail.
So I put it in a tank where no one would eat it. Then a month or so later I saw
it and couldn't figure out what it was! It is hard to see in the pictures
because it is very very careful not to be out in the open.
So,....I've taken a million pictures and these 3 are about the best I can get. I
will also describe it for you, because I can see it better than the camera can.
<Smart elusive fish!>
It body is silver in the front with yellow eyes. Towards the back it gets more
golden until you reach just before the tail where it is really very golden. The
tail looks bluish. The bottom fins are salmon pink. The top fin is blue, mostly.
But it has a stripe in the front that is first black then white,....then it's
light blue with a tiny bit of the salmon color just before it reaches the body
again. The blue is very pale, like the tail and hard to see unless the light
hits it just right. The salmon color on the bottom is much more clear. Is also
seems to have speckles on the body.
Dark ones. I was hoping it would grow bigger so I could see it even better, but
although it has a very neat coloration, it hasn't grown much at all.
It lives among the pulsing Xenias and comes out when it's mysis shrimp eating
time. The rest of the time I hardly see it. It's not a guppy. It's no a Molly. I
just have no clue what it could be. I've spent hours just staring at pictures
and asking other salt people if they know and so far no one has been able to
identify it. Can you tell me what you think it is? The top fin and the bottom
larger fin are Halfmoon shapes. That rules out many small saltwater fish!
First I thought it's a baby cardinal fish! But there don't seem to be any
cardinals that look like this. Then I thought,...maybe an Apistogramma got
acclimated to the salt water! But once again, I can't find one that looks like
this. So I'm at a loss.
<It appears to be a Rainwater Killifish (Lucania parva) but I'm not quite sure.
Bob, what are your thoughts here?>
<<When I looked at this last night I thought it was some sort of Cyprinodont,
Killifish... I do think your figuring is good. RMF. And yes, could've easily
been collected along w/ other life, foods in the geog. area.>>
I so wish I could get a better picture!! But he's too smart for me.
I'm resending this, because I forgot to sign it! My apologies!
<No worries. Cheers. Wil.>
Amanda Wilson in NJ, USA
Re: Can you identify this tiny fish?
Wow! They can! And the one I have looks exactly like the Rainwater Killifish
online! I wonder how I got it?
<As Bob stated, could've been collected along w/ other life, foods in the
Killifish can live in Saltwater????????????
<Yes they can, they tolerate different salinities from fresh to saltwater.
Pachypanchax omalonotus playing dead 4-12-13
Bob and Neale - Have either of you ever heard of a killifish playing
<Nope, not I.>
I found the smaller of my pair of Pachypanchax omalonotus upside down
and leaning against a clump of java moss. I reached into the tank
with a plastic planted tank tool to tap the end of her caudal fin.
Before I could touch her, she immediately righted herself, darted around
the tank for a few seconds, then disappeared into the cave I gave her to
hide from the larger fish--an inverted coconut shell with an access
She is behaving and eating normally today. No sign of any illness or a
repeat of the behavior. I've never observed this kind of behavior
before, so I decided to send this as a query to share it.
<Means nothing to me… but could possibly be a constipation issue, so do
try offering something high-fibre, like Daphnia, to see if that helps.
Otherwise do try posting on a Killifish forum… there are several,
including national ones for the US and elsewhere. Failing these, the
Killifish subsection on AquaticQuotient.com is a good place to meet with
expert killifish keepers.>
Strange pH and Snail-killing
I've been in touch with Neale (who's been MOST helpful) on and
off regarding a new 4' x 1.5' x 1.5', 220L tank that has no
lights and is sitting next to a window (no direct sunlight) with Val,
Indian Fern/Watersprite, Java moss and fern growing very nicely in the
2.5 weeks it's been set up.
The filter was cycled in 10 days with pre-seeded media from an old
bio-filter. 6 Melanotaenia praecox and 1 Aplocheilus Lineatus were
added 4 days ago from my 60L home tank (they'd been in that tank 4
months or so).
Tank vitals today are:
Temp: 28 deg C
Ph : 7.4 (currently)
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 5-10 ppm (colour is between two on the chart)
GH: 4 deg.s
I have 2 questions if that's O.K.?
1) The pH of the water coming out of the tap is 7.0. Last week the pH
was around this, but has been steadily rising since, until the last 3
days when the pH has been stable at or close to 7.4. In the tank is
gravel, some small granite rocks (with java moss anchored to them) and
river stones, 2 terra cotta pots and some bogwood/roots (as well and
the plants and fish).
Do you have any idea what might be causing the pH to rise?
<Photosynthesis and biological decay. Providing the pH doesn't
vary wildly, like from 7 to 8.5 and back again each day, don't
worry too much. It's perfectly normal for pH to change slightly in
any aquarium, and if animals and plants seem happy, and you keep up
with weekly water changes, don't worry. If you want, use a pH
buffer, but really, there's little need in a well-maintained,
2) I had A LOT of baby tadpole snails and a few baby Ramshorn snails in
the tank (piggy-backed in on the plants) until yesterday, when only a
few (at most) remained. The fish (as stated) went in 4 days ago. Is it
likely that the killifish (or one of the Rainbowfish) took a liking to
<Possibly, but I'm not aware of a snail-eating
Cheers, thanks a lot and awesome website as always,
Re: Strange pH and Snail-killing Killifish - add on stocking
Thanks a lot Neale - good stuff.
<Glad to help.>
Definitely no snails at all now - something got to 'em!!
Of course, sending my previous email and reading your response has
prompted a few more questions - hope you don't mind?!?!
Is it strange that my water should be so soft, yet have a pH of
<No, not that strange. While pH and hardness are connected, the
connection is not as clear-cut as beginners suppose. Carbonate hardness
is the stuff that affects pH, and if you have low general hardness but
high carbonate hardness, your test kit might tell you have both soft
water and an alkaline pH.>
Next. After what I hope is some decent thought and planning, I intend
to stock the tank as follows. Each new set of fish will spend two weeks
in quarantine (60L/15g tank) and will be introduced in the order as
listed. Please let me know if I'm off the mark with any of these,
their order, or over-stocked when I'm theoretically done. Of course
6 Melanotaenia praecox and 1 Aplocheilus Lineatus already live in the
tank, plus my tank particulars can be found in the history to this
email. Filtering is handled by an Eheim 2215 canister with just shy of
3x turnover per hour (a bit on the low side I realise, but the current
seems pretty scary, even put through the spray bar).
10x Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis - currently in quarantine and might
add up to 5 more depending on how they go/stocking levels.
<A nice species. Not the hardiest tetra in the trade, and a bit
bland under mediocre conditions, but an excellent species for soft,
well-planted tanks. Blackwater extract makes all the difference when it
comes to colouration, but failing that, shady conditions and a dark
substrate are what you want.>
3x Crossocheilus siamensis - amazingly a LFS here has the real deal
(based on the WWM article) for SG$2 each. Get 'em while they're
hot (and available!). Will putting these 3 in a 60L quarantine tank for
2 weeks cause WW3 to break out? I'm not sure how else to quarantine
them given my facilities'¦
<These are schooling fish in the wild, and while a trio is a gamble,
you might be lucky. They're far, FAR less belligerent than the
look-alike Flying Foxes and various Garra species.>
2 or 4x Trichogaster leeri or Trichogaster fasciata (1:1 male to female
ratio) - would prefer fasciata, but haven't seen them in a LFS in
Singapore yet :-(
<T. leeri is generally a good fish, and if anything, T. microlepis
even better, despite being a shade larger.>
1x Ctenopoma acutirostre - will this munch the Lemon tetras? The tetras
are almost the size of the Dwarf Neon Rainbows.
<Potentially a threat, yes, but does depend on their size. If reared
together from young and trained to take alternative foods,
shouldn't be too much of a risk. On the other hand, throw some
adults in there, and yes, they'll view small tetras as
2x Pelvivachromis pulcher (1m, 1f). Would love these, but not sure if
they'll work, esp. with the Anabantoids and SAEs, plus I
haven't seen them in any LFS here in Singapore yet. Maybe could
order them especially'¦
<Could work well. Will breed all the time though, which gets
annoying. A single female might be just as fun.>
That's my lot - thanks for making it this far! Sorry for the huge
Thanks so much crew/Neale, I think it's donation-time...
<Do feel free to buy us a beer at the front door of the website!
It's been over 25 C here in England this week, a very unusual
"Indian Summer" for this time of year. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Strange pH and Snail-killing Killifish - add on stocking
Thanks so much Neale,
With the SAEs, if they're schooling fish in the wild, should I be
getting more than 3 for my tank? I based my number of three on the
advice in Bob's article on SAEs on WWM, where he gives specific
information about much space each individual requires.
<Well, schools of 6 or more don't need "gallons per
fish" because they school together. Yes, there's a hierarchy,
but the bigger the group, the less likely that problems will occur.
It's really not much different to keeping things like Discus or
Angels. On the other hand, in smaller groups the dominant fish is prone
to bullying the weaker ones. Complicating matters is the wide
availability of non-schooling, distinctly territorial look-alike
species such as Garra cambodgiensis and the Flying Fox, both of which
are best kept singly. I have a single Garra cambodgiensis, and it's
an excellent algae eater as well as an entertaining fish, but it throws
its weight around at times, chasing loaches and other bottom
Also, regarding the possible Krib pair, I was thinking that the
Killifish and Spotted Ctenopoma would eat most of the parents' fry,
despite their best efforts at defense.
<A pair of Kribs will beat even adult Ctenopoma acutirostre into
submission. Do not underestimate the strength of these little
What they lack in sheer size they make up for in tenacity and teamwork.
In any event, Ctenopoma acutirostre feed primarily at the surface, and
in the wild mostly stuff like mosquito larvae as well as, I dare say,
the occasional small fish. In terms of behaviour they are extremely
similar to South American Angelfish, and I'd argue they're
African fish occupying much the same ecological niche.>
Being a classroom tank where I teach, I was hoping to demonstrate some
breeding behaviour to the kids. Would this be overly stressful/cruel to
the Krib adults, or should I just give any fry away to a trusted LFS
instead (assuming I get a male Krib to go with the female)?
<The Kribs will protect their fry extremely well for the first 2-3
weeks, after which point they lose interest and the fry go off and fend
for themselves. Whether the other fish cull the fry then I cannot say;
but possibly. There's some recent scientific research that suggests
cichlids actually exhibit a true weaning behaviour similar to that of
mammals and birds where the parents steadily make life more difficult
for the offspring so that their offspring eventually choose to go off
on their own. While tangential to your question, this does highlight
the value of the Cichlidae as models for understanding
"higher" animal behaviours within the confines of labs or
classrooms. It turns out that cichlids are every bit as sophisticated
as mammals and birds, and that fish aren't "lower"
animals in any objective sense.>
Thanks crew/Neale, I'll stop asking questions eventually!
Killie not eating (Pachypanchax playfairi; diet,
I picked up a pair of Pachypanchax playfairi at auction on
<A fine species. I have a female in one of my community
I have them housed temporarily in a filtered 2.5 gallon tank with a
clump of java moss inside.
<Will need more than this.>
At the advice of an expert (PhD specialist in Pachypanchax) they will
be going into a 10-gallon heavily planted tank in a week or two.
<Yes. They can get fairly big, 10 cm/4 inches, though 8 cm/3 inches
seems typical, so I'd give them the longest possible tank. Water
depth relatively unimportant. Do review water chemistry, temperature.
Avoid excessively warm or soft water.>
In the mean time, these fish are not eating, and I have no idea why. I
have given frozen bloodworm, earthworm flake, frozen mysis shrimp, and
frozen brine shrimp. The female snatched and immediately spit out one
of the bloodworms on Sunday morning and neither fish has shown any
interest whatsoever in food since then.
<May be stressed. Too small a tank, perhaps. Mine showed little
interest in food for a couple days. They are fairly shy fish,
especially in bright light or strong water currents. A few appropriate
dither fish may help.
Mine live with Celebes halfbeaks, which are very much more greedy, but
because they feed from the surface, don't compete too strongly once
food falls down the water column. Small chunks of prawn seem to be most
enticing, but do also try earthworms, daphnia and brine shrimp.>
I even dropped an Endler's fry into the tank and the fry is doing all of
the eating. The Killies ignore the fry.
<Not for long. They are extremely predatory. If hungry, will eat fry
readily. No need to feed so long as they're ignoring guppy
Any suggestions, or are these fish maybe still recovering from the
stress of being in a bag on a table all day during the convention?
Re: Killie not eating (Pachypanchax playfairi; diet,
Thanks Neale, They will move into the bigger tank as soon as I am
through moving furniture around like one of those number slide games. I
have 4 tanks that will be set up soon, so these guys will have the
space they need shortly. 2.5 gallons is better than a small plastic
By the way, I couldn't find any desert gobies except on Aquabid,
where competition was pretty fierce.
<It is odd that these Desert Gobies are so scarce/expensive. They
aren't difficult to keep or breed.>
I bought instead 6 bumblebee gobies. No idea which of the 10 or 11
species these guys represent as the breeder did not tell the retailer.
The breeder may not even know. But, they are doing great.
<Yes. They aren't difficult to keep, though they can be fussy
As I've mentioned here at WWM many times, brackish water isn't
essential, though it can be useful if you want to maintain brine shrimp
in the water for long periods so your BBGs can feed at their own
Yesterday I moved my Pachypanchax playfairii pair to
their 10-gallon permanent home. They are much happier there and both
male and female are eating well.
The Endler's fry I added to the smaller tank finally vanished.
Interestingly, though, I added a fry to my brackish bumblebee goby tank
at the same time. Not only is that fry tolerating the brackish
<Which they will do, easily. Guppies and Endler's have been
acclimated to full-marine conditions.>
it is also too fast for the gobies to catch. He'll be moving into
the Endler's fry-rearing tank I'm currently leak-testing.
Oh, and for Bob: I let that Costia-stricken tank run empty for over 6
weeks and finally restocked with a new pair of nickle-sized angelfish
(P. scalare) a week ago. I bought from a local breeder this time. Much
<Sounds like you're on the right track. Good luck,
I have a 20-gallon tall that I'm looking to fill. I'm
considering a pair of (freshwater) angelfish and a pair of Killies or
two different species pair of Killies
in a planted tank, but I'm not sure about compatibility between
angels and Killies.
I may add a pair of Siamese algae eaters also, and that pretty much
tops out the bio-load for that size tank.
One other question. Although I don't plan to use it, this tank
currently has an undergravel filter. I'm curious whether there is
still a place in the hobby for undergravel filtration.
<See WWM re... http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwugfiltfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: compatibility... reading
Undecided on the Killie species. Depends largely on what is available
here. I'm open to suggestions since I've never kept Killies
<? Do a bit of reading, investigating before purchasing... Many
species of Killifish are difficult to keep except under special
conditions (i.e. not w/ Pterophyllum); some are too retiring. B>
Re: compatibility - 12/16/10
Have been reading on Killies, but there is a lot out there. I think I
need to find a local AKA member instead of pestering you guys.
<Or a good book perhaps>
By the way, my new Endler's are doing great. Different personality
than mollies but still fun.
<Ah good. B>
Floating at the surface. Beh. - 10/10/10
Just got two golden wonder Killies (male and female).
While in bag they would float very close to the surface then stopped.
After I acclimated them in the tank (put the bag in aquarium 15 to 20
min. later put some aquarium water, waited another 10 min. put more
aquarium water then let another 15 min. before letting go was this
correct?). They then began to float at the top again. Is this
"natural after acclimation" activity or did I do something
wrong? If I did something wrong, is there a way to help them return to
<Golden Wonder Killifish -- Aplocheilus lineatus -- are surface
swimmers. It is completely normal for them to swim right at the very
top of the tank, ideally under some floating plants and where the water
current is gentle. Couple of warnings though. This species is
territorial, so allow a good square foot or so of space per specimen.
Secondly, they are incredibly predatory; at up to 10 cm/4 inches long
these fish can, will swallow tankmates as large as Danios. Oh, and they
jump; keep the tank covered!
Anyway, next time you acclimate new fish to your tank, don't float
the bag. Empty the bag into a bucket. Add a cup of water from the
aquarium every 5-10 minutes until the bucket is filled up. Put a towel
over the bucket in between times to keep the fish from jumping out.
After 30-60 minutes net out the fish and release it into the tank. This
way you minimise contaminating your aquarium with water from the pet
shop. That pet shop water will likely have lots of ammonia and can also
carry various parasites. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Floating at the surface. - 10/10/10
Thank you ever so. Though I do have one more question it appears, when
I saw them at my LFS, they were in a pair. They still are (following
each other) but the female tends to nip at the male and seem to hit him
with her tail is this natural also?
<Could very easily be aggression. These fish aren't nippy, but
they will fight. Provided both specimens otherwise seem happy, and
better still, if they're both eating, I wouldn't worry too
much. They can form pairs, and hopefully yours are behaving as such,
but they aren't like cichlids in the sense of having a pair bond.
With that said, male/female duos generally settle down quite well.
Mangrove killifish, sel. 3/1/10
thanks for the great website.
Is there any way you can give me a link to someone who sells mangrove
killifish? I have a mangrove setup with mudskippers & other
brackish water critters. thanks so much
<Like most of the brackish water killifish, the Mangrove Killifish,
Kryptolebias marmoratus, is a species you usually have to collect
yourself (assuming it is legal to do so). If that isn't an option,
then your best bet is to contact a biological supply company in a part
of the world where this fish is found (Google "biological
supply" and you'll find lots of such companies). Such places
routinely sell other killifish species widely used in labs, including
the brackish and marine species, though I will caution you that many of
the Cyprinodon and some of the Fundulus species are far from gentle
community fish. If that isn't an option, then you'll have to
concentrate on alternative species available in the tropical fish
trade, such as the Diamond Killifish (Adinia xenica) or perhaps the
more unusual livebearers like Wrestling Halfbeaks (Dermogenys spp.) and
Swamp Guppies (Micropoecilia picta). Cheers, Neale.>
Clown Killi Temperature 2/25/09 I am
planning a small planted tank with a group of Pseudepiplatys annulatus.
I've done some research and have some questions about keeping them
in an unheated tank. I've read that keeping them in a "room
temperature" environment could prolong their lifespan. I also am I
bit attached to the idea of keeping the tank as low-tech as possible.
Despite some various forum posts throughout the web whose authors
demonstrate success with these killies at low temperatures, the
majority of references I can find including Fishbase suggest a much
higher temperature. I was hoping to get an opinion from the people I
trust most at WetWeb. Thanks in advance, Matt <Does depend on room
temperature in your part of the world! Here in the UK, that would be
too cold. this time of year anyway. But yes, keeping annual killifish
slightly cooler than the wild can extend their lives. But we're
talking a degree or two; 23 C (73 F) would be ideal. Any colder and
you're running the risk of health problems. Cheers, Neale.>
Killies Fish help 2/18/08 Hi Guys! My question is
in regards to Killifish, particularly "golden wonders" in my
30 gal tank. <These are an artificial morph of Aplocheilus lineatus,
and doing your searches online and in books by the Latin name will be
rewarding.> They are the only top fish, with a few other lazy,
friendly mid & bottom fish. I've read the appropriate section
to find a bit of insight, but I need a better confirmation of my
concerns regarding color changing. I have 2 golden wonder killi's
<No need for the apostrophe!> fish who have both gotten along
just fine for 4 months swimming together like pals. About 3 days ago I
noticed one being chased aggressively by the other, and the one that
was being chased changed color to almost completely black, with a color
similar to that of ammonia burns with deep black veiny lines. So before
I knew what I was dealing with, I put the now black killie in a
hospital tank, to isolate him from the other, and to make sure he
healed if the black was indeed actual "scabs" from being
attacked. After 3 days of quarantine, he slowly got 80% of his normal
color back. <OK. Fish typically turn dark when stressed. Aplocheilus
lineatus is a territorial fish, and in small tanks it is best to keep
just the one. This is especially true if there is only a limited amount
of floating plant material. Aplocheilus lineatus squabble over the best
places to "lurk".> I also read that community fish that
are aggressive sometimes do better in odd numbered groups.
<Isn't as simple as this. Tiger Barbs, for example, are better
in groups because they need a certain number of individuals in their
social group. But other fish will simply fight if kept cramped, until
you end up with just one dominant fish and a bunch of dead/stressed
subdominant fish. So as ever, you need to read up on the specific
behaviour of the fish in question. In your case, no, this isn't
likely to work.> So, I bought 1 more killie, a little larger to help
keep the peace between the new "Threes Company".
<Doesn't work like this. Fish don't "keep the
peace". They aren't a branch of the United Nations. Peace
breaks out when all the fish accept their position in the social
hierarchy and no longer view one another as threats and/or rivals.>
The one that was originally chased & black is still chased &
black. The new big guy and the smaller aggressor seem to have
"stand offs", ironically the big guy loses & turns black
too. However I did see all 3 turn black temporarily & all hide from
each other after a 3 way "stand off" once. <I bet.> So
I guess my question is that by turning black, are they showing signs of
submission, or are they actually injured & internally bleeding?
<Neither; dark colours mean "I'm unhappy".> If I
quarantine the main aggressor in a hospital tank "small type that
sits in the main tank like a hatchery" for a few days, would that
calm him down? <The only way these fish "calm down" is
when they are kept in a tank with sufficient surface area and an
equitable distribution of hiding places at the top of the tank. In a 30
gallon tank, my guess would be you could keep no more than two males,
and even then if there were two clumps of floating plants, one at each
end of the tank.> I know fish have the ability to learn somewhat,
but how well can fish retain memory or how smart are they? Can they
learn that aggressive behavior will end them up in isolation for a few
days? <Fish can be plenty smart, but this no more affects their
ability to get along with each other than it does with humans.>
Ultimately I want to know why they are changing black, and if its a
submissive/dominance problem, should I add 2 more killies for a total
of 5 in the hopes that a larger group will calm this aggressive booger
down? Thanks!!! Tim P. <For a start establish whether you have males
or females. Females are less brightly coloured, and should always
outnumber the males. One of the most common mistakes less experienced
aquarists make is to just buy males, because they're more
colourful. This is very bad. The males fight. Females should outnumber
males 2 to 1, and under such circumstances, male killifish will
generally concentrate on the females rather than rival males. Cheers,
Nothobranchius community 1/19/08 Mr.
Monks <It's actually Dr. Monks, but please call me
"Neale" or "Hey, you there". Everyone else
does.> Thank you so much for you quick response and knowledgeable
advice. I've decided to heed your warnings and adjust my stock list
as follows. 6x Swartz's Cory cats 2x (M+F) Patrizi killifish
Nothobranchius patrizi I like their color more. 1x Siamese algae eater
I have omitted the snails, the Bettas and the dwarf Gourami. <All
sounds fine, although I am very slightly concerned that an SAE might be
a bit much for Nothobranchius; these latter killifish are fairly
territorial and plucky in their way, but I'm not sure how
they'd react to a big, fast-moving Cyprinid darting about the
tank.> I have also decided on going with a smaller Eheim canister
filter. The 2229 model flows at 280gph. I was thinking along the lines
of 150gph because killifish do come from more calm waters. <True.
But do be careful: reducing the flow of water also means reducing the
quality of the filtration.> As for the Cichlid it was a Frontosa
Cichlid, after reading their required water conditions I am shocked the
former owner kept it alive. I observed it actually nip at the barb and
the Pleco. <Cyphotilapia frontosa is a deep water predator. Although
a peaceful, docile cichlid it is predatory, and can't be considered
a "good community fish" except with large species of fish.
Beautiful fish though.> I also observed the barb nip at the Pleco.
Good news with the barb and the Pleco a different local fish store has
agreed to take them in and get them back to a healthy state. That store
has earned my business. <Good news!> They will also order and
quarantine any fish I want for up to a month. Would I still need to
quarantine the fish they quarantined? <Probably not, assuming the
fish were quarantined properly.> I have also decided to fish less
cycle the tank with the new filter. <Wise.> Tons of plants will
come in time after the system has matured and appropriate substrate,
lights, yadda yadda are bought. I've always had bad
"luck" with aquatic plants but with the knowledge I am
obtaining on WWM I know I will be well armed with good "luck"
this time around. <Almost all problems with plants come down to
inadequate light; when given sufficient light plants usually adapt well
to even the "wrong" water chemistry or substrate. Do bear in
mind that the Amano-style planted tanks are somewhat incompatible with
regular fishkeeping -- if you look at an Amano tank, it is always
understocked and contains only tiny, non-messy, non-burrowing fish.
Once you start getting things like catfish and medium-sized species of
fish, you have to moderate your expectations from the plants a bit. For
example, get robust species like Anubias and Java fern for
"sculpting" the scenery, and fast-growing bushy things like
Hygrophila for algae control.> Thank you again! Ed <Cheers,
A little different... BR, FW, SW... Killifish... ID,
sys. and Mollienesia comp. 12/5/07 Hello Bob, I
happened to stumble across your web site and it just so happens, I have
quite a few questions that I hope you can answer for me. I have a 55
Gal aquarium with Eheim and Skilter filters. I purchased the aquarium
about 18 years ago. I had success with community setups for many years
but some how lost interest in the hobby and just let everything go to
pot. This summer I was collecting live bait from the lagoon in my back
yard. The bait consisted of killies. I don't know the proper name
for that species of fish but that is what we call them. Any how after
the fishing trip was over I had about 12 killies left. My tank had a
couple of tiger barbs and a couple of platys in it at that time. I
decided to dump the kellies into the tank. About 8 of them survived.
Since that time I have been adding water from the lagoon. Needless to
say only the kellies remain in the tank. Yesterday my wife came home
with 8 silver sail fin mollies. What a surprise. So now I would like to
know what to do ? The PH was at 6.4. I know I will have to bring that
up to about 7.2 but after that, I don't know. I would like to
dedicate the tank to the mollies. Any suggestions would be greatly
appreciated. Please keep in mind that although I have kept
tropical's for many years, I have no knowledge of salinity factors
or chemistry of any kind. Hoping to hear from you soon. Tony <Hello
Tony. It's hard to give advice here without knowing the species of
Killifish in question. Some are freshwater, some brackish water, and
some marine. This is especially true in the US where killifish are
ecologically very varied. I can't say I'm wild about the ethics
of dumping a bunch of native fish into a community tank without first
checking water chemistry and compatibility issues. If these killies are
species of Fundulus for example, and the water from your lagoon was
brackish, then the poor Tiger Barbs and Platies faced a miserable and
slow death from aggression (from the Fundulus) and dehydration (from
the salty water). No responsible aquarist would ever inflict this sort
of slow, painful death on any animal. Your first job is to identify the
killifish. Most of the larger, bait-sized North American (Fundulus and
Cyprinodon spp.) species are somewhere on the spectrum of
"nasty" and mixing them with fish as mild as Poecilia
(Mollienesia) spp. would be incredibly cruel. Furthermore, you will
need to ascertain the water chemistry requirements for the killifish in
question. Mollies do best in hard, alkaline water ideally with salt
added to around 25% normal marine salinity (~SG 1.005). Some killifish
will thrive in such conditions, but others will not. My gut feeling is
you won't be able to mix these two species. But if you want to send
along a photo of the Killifish, perhaps someone here on the WWM crew
might be able to identify the fish for you. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: A little different... Kill's fisches...
sys. 12/7/07 Neale, <Tony,> Gee, I never thought of it
that way. The killies are not at all aggressive. <You got lucky! The
North American killifish include some VERY mean species when kept in
confined spaces, as well as a number of species that need brackish or
marine conditions to do well. This is why they're uncommon in the
ornamental fish trade.> As a matter of fact they are quite community
minded. They right now are swimming around with the mollies in perfect
harmony. <Very good. They are fun fish to catch and watch. I
thoroughly enjoy keeping coldwater fish, especially marines, but you do
need to take care choosing what species to mix together.> I guess I
did make a ass of myself by adding the killies to my tank and added to
the lunacy by using the brackish water from the lagoon for water
changes. I will be more dedicated to my aquarium now then I have ever
been in the past. <Cool.> What test kits do I need to keep
everything in order? <Baseline when keeping wild-caught fish would
be salinity, carbonate hardness, and pH.> Thank you so much for the
come back. I will not forget it. Tony <You're welcome.> P.S.
I live in New Jersey if that will help you in any way to identify the
killies. A friend told me that they were also called mummichugs. I will
research to get the proper name for you. <Ah, Fundulus heteroclitus.
One of the hardiest killifish. Able to tolerate anything from
freshwater to hypersaline conditions around 3-4 times more saline than
the sea. Also tolerant of water temperatures from freezing to over 30
degrees C. Optimal conditions would be moderately brackish water (say,
SG 1.010) at 15-18 degrees C. Lots of carbonate hardness, ideally 10
degrees KH upwards. Good filtration would be beneficial, though it is a
confirmed air-breather able to tolerate swampy conditions for extended
periods. Will jump out of uncovered tanks. Unlike many other killies,
this species is somewhat gregarious. That said, the males can be
short-tempered towards one another when mature and fighting over
females. Maximum size about 15 cm, though commonly smaller. An
omnivore, feeding on algae, insect larvae, crustaceans, and small fish.
Widely used as a laboratory animal and commercially handled as a bait
fish, but not common in the aquarium hobby. Hope this helps, Neale.>
|ID this fish? -- 11/16/07 Hello Crew! Thanks
in advance for reading this message. I was hoping one of you could
help ID this fish. There are countless numbers of them living in a
pond here in Central Florida. It's actually on a friend's
property, but is stocked with local flora and fauna. So far I have
been able to identify mosquitofish, least killifish, and rock bass
of some sort living in there. Not sure how the bass got there, must
have been via eggs stuck to the leaves of plants? <Possibly.
Here in England we talk about eggs stuck to ducks' feet. More
likely deliberately stocked.> In any case, there's one fish
I cannot identify... In order to get a better look, I placed it in
an aquarium. I apologize for the very poor quality of the
photographs, but the LCD is cracked on my digital camera, so I
cannot view the menu in order to adjust the settings. These three
pictures were the best of several, believe it or not! They look a
bit like golden wonder killifish without the fancy finnage -
upturned mouths and slender bodies. The spangles on the side are
iridescent as you can see, but the overall color is almost
translucent as a juvenile. Adults seem to develop a more opaque
greenish coloration throughout, and grow to...hmm, between two and
three inches long, I believe. <They are definitely killifish. At
first glance it looked to me like an Asian killi, such as the dwarf
Panchax Aplocheilus parvus. It has the Panchax-shape about it. But
as far as I know there aren't any Panchax established in the
US. So anyway, identifying your fish still further is tricky for me
because this isn't a group I'm expert with. So this is a
process of elimination, and others may well have better ideas! They
look too slender to be pupfish (family Cyprinodontidae) so my
assumption is they're some sort of topminnow (Fundulidae),
perhaps the Golden Topminnow (Fundulus chrysotus). Perhaps someone
else here at WWM will have a better idea? In any case, looking at a
handbook of Floridian fish under the Killifish section should
help.> Thanks again! Have a great weekend. <Cheers,
Killifish that lives up trees 11/8/07 And it's
a brackish water species too, the trees in question being
MangroveRivulus.html Apparently their "gills are altered to
retain water and nutrients, while they excrete nitrogen waste
through their skin" and breathe air. Perhaps these killifish
are on the way to evolving into a North Atlantic mudskipper!>
Cheers, Neale <Neat! Bob>
Killifish compatibility 9/3/07 Hi Crew, I
have a 22gal community tank about 8 months old; ph 6.4-5, no nitrites,
very soft water, Nitrates 25ppm, temp is 22C. I have a trio of Golden
Wonder Killies in there at the moment along with Corys, 3 adult Kerri
Danios, 2 Hillstream Loaches and a 'true' Flying Fox (I know
this is a touch too cold for him, will he adapt okay? He's new!).
I've purchased some Aphyosemion Australe eggs and hopefully will be
able to hatch some so I can have a trio of those too. Will the Killies
tolerate each other or fight? The Golden Wonders are still quite small
and very peaceful at present, but I read somewhere that you
shouldn't mix different species of Killifish? Thanks very much,
Ruth <Hello Ruth. In a word, no, you can't mix Aphyosemion
australe with Aplocheilus lineatus (which is what your Golden Wonder
killies are). For a start, Aplocheilus lineatus will eat them.
Aplocheilus lineatus is a voracious predator that feeds on insect
larvae and small fish. Aplocheilus lineatus are also very territorial
(especially the males) and being twice the size of the Aphyosemion
australe, any fights could only have one outcome. Aplocheilus lineatus
will get to about 10 cm, and are more than capable of eating
danio-sized fishes, so that combination is a risky one. I'm a bit
curious why you have very soft water. Neither of these killies really
need that; my assumption is that for Aphyosemion australe slightly soft
water (5-10 dH, pH 6-7) is what you need. Aplocheilus lineatus will
adapt to almost anything, from quite soft through to brackish. The
problem with very soft (< 5 dH) water is the lack of water chemistry
stability so as a very broad rule, I tend to recommend keeping fish in
only moderately soft water unless there's a specific need to do
otherwise. Anyway, assuming your Flying Fox is Epalzeorhynchos
kalopterus, then no, it really shouldn't be kept at 22C
indefinitely. I'd bump the temperature to 24C. This should be
acceptable to all your fish, especially if you ensure water circulation
in the tank is good enough to transport oxygen all around the tank. The
problem with too-cool water conditions is that the physiological
processes in a fish are "geared" to work together at some
specific temperature range. If too low, these don't work
adequately, and things like digestion and immunity become
"faulty". At the extreme, the fish becomes sick and dies.
Hope this helps, Neale.>
Your photo of Fundulus parvipinnis 12/24/05 Hello
Robert We never were introduced, but l dare to contact you because it
appears that your photos of Fundulus parvipinnis are unique.
<Interesting... am out in FLA for the week... do feel free to use
any of my content for non-commercial purposes. Bob Fenner> I would
like to have them for Killi-Data. Could you help, please ? If you wish,
I'll give you all details (you may also visit the research website
below). Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ! Jean Visit Killi-Data
website: www.killi-data.org Access to "guest" section simply
with your e-mail Access to "member" section (database) after
registration process in "guest" section To see an example of
the database in "guest" section, click on SAMPLE Twice a year
newsletters, plus Killiflashes immediately after important publications
(new species!), upon free subscription. Dr Jean H. Huber, Ichtyologie,
Museum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris, France. Private
address: 7, Boulevard Flandrin, 75116 Paris, France
Re: Your photo of Fundulus parvipinnis 12/30/2005 Hello
Bob That would be a fine Christmas present ! Yes this is for research
only... but since it is for scientific research and record I need high
resolution pictures. If you are interested, you must send high
resolution digitals by e-mail or slide duplicates to my private
address. Then I know you need to trust me. All scientists in the US and
many aquarists could support this. If you tell me some names you trust,
I shall contact them so that they send you a testimony. Or if you know
Tony Terceira, you should know that he already gave 60 pictures for the
data base (which holds 1980). No emergency... enjoy FLA (Paris is cold
and a icy cold period is to come on Tuesday) Jean <Tis chilly even
in S. California. Please find the two pix I have attached. Cheers,
Robare Fenner> Visit Killi-Data website: www.killi-data.org <
http://www.killi-data.org> Access to "guest"
section simply with your e-mail Access to "member" section
(database) after registration process in "guest" section To
see an example of the database in "guest" section, click on
SAMPLE Twice a year newsletters, plus Killiflashes immediately after
important publications (new species!), upon free subscription. Dr Jean
H. Huber, Ichtyologie, Museum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris,
Re: Your photo of Fundulus parvipinnis 12/30/2005 Great
Robert They are perfect ! Many thanks ! Just 2 minor questions SIO2 is
the male and SIO the female ? <Mmm, this would be my guess, yes>
Do you know the collecting locality by chance ? <Almost certainly in
Mission Bay, San Diego, California. I shot these pix at the
Scripps/Birch Aquarium in La Jolla> I don' t know if you are a
Killifish nut... would you like free membership and access to the
database, as a "reward" ? If yes, you'll still have to do
a small work : fill the registration form online (2 minutes, within the
'guest' section). <Appreciate your kind offer, but am a bit
of a distance from reviewing the cyprinidontiform fishes... have some
experience with the desert Pupfishes many years back... occasionally
chat with friends... some even knew Jorgen Scheel...> Paris has been
icy (below freezing), but now it is getting milder... and tomorrow
anyway we'll be warmed by Champagne! <Heee!> Happy New Year !
Jean <Merci! And to you and yours. Bob Fenner>
|Help! Sick Killie - Combined Responses
11/14/05 I now have a female Golden Wonder killie with obvious
dropsy. I had considered her to be pregnant for a little while, and
was waiting for some sort of breeding behavior. Now of course,
I'm smacking myself. She's stuck out of the crowd a little,
lately, because she very suddenly developed a dark gray patch along
her left side. It's proven difficult to get a picture of her,
but if needed, I'll try again once I buy that hospital tank (or
tanks) that I'm going out to buy in less than an hour.
I'll try to describe it: If you look at her left side, it looks
like she's got the lower left corner of a rectangle on her. It
starts in a straight line right behind her body cavity, from the
dorsal to about 2/3's down, then a right angle turn leading
straight to the tail, with that straight line intersecting the
curve of the lower part of her body before it reaches the tail.
That straight, bottom border is a stripe darker than the rest of
it. I just made a (really awful) drawing, which I am attaching in
lieu of a picture, to try to illustrate. She's had this patch
for a little while, and I kept an eye on her. Her habits didn't
seem to change any, inasmuch as the tank is still relatively new
and I'm still getting used to their behaviours. She still fed
enthusiastically, and I keep thinking I've seen her in breeding
behaviour with one of the males, but I can't recall absolutely
it was her. I don't know if the patch is related, but I'm
writing on the off chance it is, and that it might be something
recognizable. This morning, I came up one fish short, and found her
hiding in a back corner, looking like a little fishy pinecone.
Having scanned your site a bit in the last... what, week?
Goodness... I realized I'd read something about the scales
sticking out like that, and was able identify it as dropsy.
<Of numerous etiologies (causes)> <<Agreed.... perhaps
bacterial, in this case, but in all honesty, no way to know from
here.>> I'll be bringing home two small, basic <1
gallon betta tanks, and a small airstone. As your site suggests
daily water changes, I figured I would transfer the killie from
tank to tank each day instead of getting a filter, cleaning the
just-used one and putting pre-treated, stabilized water in it (as
best I can in a hurried setup). I found out when we were running
from Hurricane Rita that our aquarium water stayed at a reasonable
temperature, but I'll probably pick up thermometers too just in
case, and add a small heater later if needed. Hmm. Probably some
small hide-in-able thing, as well. According to my test kit
(Mardel Master Test Kit) my water is stable - ammonia and nitrite
at 0, nitrate just below 40, <Way too high...>
low-level hard water (normal for the area, <... and what
sort of water does this species prefer?> and the store said they
have the same), buffering on the low side of ideal, and pH perhaps
on the low side as well. The thing I have been remiss in is water
changes. That was something I learned rather late in the game, and
I already had a gravel vac and a 10 or 15 gallon tank on my
shopping list. All of the other fish appear to be fine, and were
feeding well this morning. So, does this patch, or my lack of water
changing, suggest any particular cause for the dropsy, or is it too
vague to tell? <Like colors, "dropsy" is only a
descriptive term... tells nothing re causes> With the medication
and whatever food I can find (I think I read somewhere that Tetra
medicated food is hard to get any more?), <<There are
more effective products available now - one from Jungle, one
from.... Umm.... Aquarium Products, or something like that, which I
haven't used. Also can find medicated foods at http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/
.>> is my "hospital" setup sounding good (I hope,
because as soon as I send this, I'm off to the store)? Assuming
I pull the girl through, at what point can I consider her
"cured" enough to go back into the main tank; conversely,
if she gets worse, is there a visible point where I should consider
a humane farewell? <<This bit only you will be able to
determine.... If the fish seems to be in considerable discomfort
and you are quite confidant that she will be unrecoverable, you
might consider this option. Again, only you can make this very
subjective judgment call.>> And what other symptoms can I
look for that may help diagnose the actual problem? *flapping arms*
So many questions! Can Sabrina just come live with me?!? :-D
<She didn't respond w/in a day... Will cc her here. Bob
Fenner> <<Didn't happen to read this one last
night.... As for being a live-in, I'm pretty low-maintenance,
but you've gotta have good avocados! I think I'll stick to
my funky mountain home for now. -Sabrina>>
New community fish attacked... 10/2/05 We are new to
having fish, but have spent a lot of time researching on the internet
to be informed. Our tank has cycled and we added fish, been doing
regular cleaning and water changes and things were going well until
today. I tried to add new fish to a 36 gallon community tank and they
were attacked. I have 1 golden wonder killie who grabbed the new
harlequin rasbora and was swallowed him on down. We were able to net
him up and he spit out the fish, but was severely damaged and had to be
destroyed. The killie fish also took a big chunk out of the new zebra
danio's tail as well. I'm not sure if he will make it either.
<... you know that not all fish species, individuals are
compatible> The new fish are smaller than the ones in the tank, but
what I researched said they would all play well together. My three
children watched this happen and are very upset by "big
yellow" now. They want me to take him out of the tank. We have the
4 remaining rasbora fish in a net on the side. I'm not sure what to
do. Should I go buy a separate enclosure to keep these small guys safe
until they get bigger? Should I separate the golden wonder killie?
<The latter. Best to remove period> We have 1 dwarf powder blue
Gourami who is very friendly, 5 Scissortail rasboras, 5 red minor
tetras, and the "killer yellow fish". They have been in there
for a month now and are all bigger than the new ones we tried to add.
We were trying to increase the zebra danios to 7, but who knows how
many are left since I've been upstairs. Please help, by children
are very upset! Thank you! Carol Thompson <I can imagine... do try
to arrange for compatible tankmates... and remove the killifish. Bob